Readers' Submissions

My Vietnamese Disaster


After the death of my wife of 19 years, I decided to go back to Vietnam which we had visited before. This was in July last year. Prior to going I was interested in watching Australian Rules football and had researched various venues to do so. I decided on one particular abode, Phatty Sports Bar, and on my first night I went there. This place had a number of promotional girls working there for various beer companies such as San Miguel, Budweiser, Sapporo etc. I remember when I was leaving that one girl, May, the Sapporo girl came up to me and asked if she could see me the following day. Whilst I had imbibed far too much I woke up the following day and could vaguely remember that I had to meet someone but was not sure where or when!

So anyway there was a football match on that day so I went back to the same venue and was watching the game when the girl turned up and said that she was glad that I had remembered to come. I said of course how could I forget. Phew!

That started the whole thing. Here I was, a 50-year old man, and there is this smoking hot 22-year old showing an interest in me, someone who was lonely and desperate for companionship. I did not come to Vietnam to meet someone, not at all.

I only ever intended on going for 4 weeks and was planning a series of trips throughout the country and was only ever planning on being in Saigon for 5 days before heading north to Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hue, Hoi An etc.

The next 5 days were perfect! She would come and meet me every day before she had to work, so we spent our days shopping, having lunch etc., and at night I would go and plonk myself at this bar and watch sport so I could be near my girl.

Those 5 days were the happiest days I had since my wife passed 14 months earlier. I did not want to leave Saigon so I asked her [let's call her May] if she would like to come to Mui Ne with me for a few days and she said she would see if she could get a few days off. To my delight she said yes but she could only come from Friday to Sunday. She had lied to her parents about where she was going and told them she was going to Nha Trang for the opening of a new restaurant. We had not frolicked at this point but needless to say I was sure these few days were going to be interesting. Upon arrival at Mui Ne it was perfect, a beautiful seaside town, just the two of us. I was surprised when I saw her reaction to seeing the ocean – she was like a child, wide-eyed and astounded.

So as things progressed, I put the word on her and her answer was "not possible". I was extremely taken aback by this thinking. Could she be a ladyboy? I tried to find out why she had said this, but only got silence. This really pissed me off, so as her English was mediocre I got out my laptop and used Google translate and tried to explain to her the dynamics of a male / female relationship and if two people liked each other then sex was an important part of that union.

As it turned out she explained "she had blood" which it did not take me long to figure out she meant her period. OK. understood, but she did say tomorrow ok.

Whilst I was getting to know this lass we talked about family etc. She told me that she had a younger sister, mother and father. One thing that was weird was that every morning and every night she would be on the phone, telling me it was her mother. Now at 22 I did not ring my mother 2 times a day and found this rather odd. As time progressed I found out she in fact had a 3-year old daughter that she forgot to mention, and an older brother, 7 grandparents, 2 water buffalo and the obligatory elephant. I think I understand that she believed that if I knew about her child from the outset that I would not be interested in her. What she didn't know was that I adore children but I don't adore dishonesty. First mistake she made.

When she left Mui Ne to go back to Saigon I was very sad. I headed north on a train to Nha Trang, Jim Beam bottle in hand and this pestering little Viet that could only say Viet Cong and imitate the firing of a sub machine gun. All she did was occupy my entire thought process for days. I actually [after my easy rider trip through the Central Highlands] decided to abandon all my other plans and head back to Saigon to be with this girl that I thought liked me for me. Now I know it was only ever for money [what a strange thing].

So I went back to Saigon and continued the ritual. She came and see me 2 hours before work, then I would go and sit at her bar and drink. Day after day, week after week, quite an odd relationship, but I was whipped.

I decided when I left 'Nam that I would return "to be with my love", so 2 weeks later I was back to be with my exotic beautiful love, born when I was 28.

Rented an apartment, $275 per month and then spent nearly everyday alone. God, I would have gone mad if I did not have my laptop. I spent hours everyday reading Stickman [could I see what was happening to me, YES] but I continued to let it roll.

Come December, it happened. "You don't buy house before TET [Viet NEW YEAR Jan 23] and we finish. So I said ok, but I don't want to live in Saigon, I want to live in Nha Trang by the sea. I actually had no intention of living anywhere in Vietnam but was happy to bullshit to keep this inevitable disaster [and sex] going. So off we go to Nha Trang, organised real estate agents for her to go around with and look at properties. Did not find one she liked so I said I would come back the following week and look. I did come back but I didn't look at properties.

We had been having issues with the lack of time we spent together so it became a problem, not to mention the lack of sex thing.

I need to transgress here for a moment. I never ever had any intention to buy property here in 'Nam. Everything was a ruse to deceive her so I could spend as much time with her as I could before my money ran out and I had to head back to reality [I am not proud of that]. I guess I was selfish in a way but I had read so many stories of girls ripping of westerners on Stickman I thought, well, why can't we do that to them.

So on and on this went, day upon day pretty much by myself, not much of a relationship, but she was so beautiful. As I knew it was not going to last I tried to get as much sex as I could, but even that was a hassle. It got to a point that when she wanted something, I said well what are you going to do for me [she knew what I meant]. It was really quite ridiculous that I had to barter to get what I really wanted. It actually would have been cheaper to hire a hooker every day!

So we got to a point when we had a problem, that I told her that I had in fact bought a house in Nha Trang. I even created false email addresses from a purported agent up there and the seller sending them to myself back and forth, between fictitious agent, seller and myself so that I could prove to her that I was not lying. That was how desperate I was not to lose this beauty [even knowing that it was inevitable]. She told me that she did not really want to move away from her family and I told her that this was now a problem, because I had bought the house. I told her that I would see what I can do and created more false emails. I told her the seller was in China and had an accident and was in hospital and would be back in Nam in 3 weeks.

This bought me some time, breathing space so the pressure was off for the time being. I said we could look at some houses in Saigon but I cannot make a decision until I find out about the situation with the Nha Trang property.

So that's what we did. We spent days going around looking at properties, even though I knew we were never going to buy one. Something to occupy my time and keep her interested enough to keep spreading her legs albeit not as much as I would have liked.

So just before Christmas I took her and her 3-year old to Cambodia, their first trip out of the country. Not surprisingly she wanted to know how we were going to order food there as we don't speak the language. This was in fact not the least surprising coming from a girl who has lived her whole life in Saigon and had no idea what the river was called.

Just to get off the subject a little I would like to share some of my woman's intellect and just what I had to deal with intellectually wise. Sure, she knew about Tom and Jerry, but that's about where it stopped. I found that the vast majority of Viets develop mentally to about 12 or 14 and stop. It's just physical development from there, even people that purport to be executives.

1/ Her parents moving house and the house needed some painting. We got a quote from someone which was somewhat expensive, so the father says "I will do it for half that". Go figure, the father wants me to pay him to paint his own house. He did add that someone has to do it.

2/ Received an SMS from her asking me to call. I replied that I had lost my voice and could not ring. Her response was "Oh no, where did you lose it, when you find it can you ring me?"

3/ Getting on the plane in Hanoi to Nha Trang [Cam Rahn is the name of the airport at Nha Trang], she said "No we can't get on that, it is going somewhere called Cam Rahn". I said don't worry that is Nha Trang, so just get on the FxxxING PLANE. I know what I am doing. But she would not. I had to get a Vietnam Airlines person to explain to her what was what. She then turned to me and said "Why didn't you tell me that " and then would not talk to me for 24 hours.

4/ I SMS her and ask her what she is doing and she replied "making an egg". When I ask her what she means, she replies "Don't you know anything, what is wrong with you?"

5/ Driving past the reunification Palace in Saigon, I ask her "What is that?", and she replies "Why do I need to know that? It's not important!"

I know that sexual stimulation is important in any relationship, but without intellectual stimulation it can be very difficult. I would normally say that this was a cheap form of entertainment, but I can assure you it wasn't.

Back from Cambodia just before Christmas so Mr. Generosity invites the clan to a five star hotel for one of those $75 per head buffet lunches. Now I am sure that Mother, Father and sister had never even seen a 5-star hotel, let alone been in one. They were mesmerised by the decadence and ate about enough to feed a mouse, what a waste. Funny thing was that May was the only one to speak English and when I went outside to have a smoke with Father I just smiled at him and said "Do you realise that I just spent $75 on your F###cking lunch and you eat nothing?" His response was to just smile at me and put his hand on my leg just like he always did.

So, anyway, this ridiculous relationship continued, me spending pretty much all my time alone and when we were together, it was all about what I could do for her. Readers probably think, well you had a choice and they are right. I was the one keeping this going but if you saw this girl, then you would probably understand why.

Fast forward a few weeks and the demands just started to escalate, pay the parents' rent, electricity, fuel for the motorbike, shopping at the markets and one day I just said no more, not unless I get something in return. So I asked May to come up with a more positive plan, that would make me happy. She couldn't because I really don't think she could think past the next hour. I remember once asking her if she would like me to prebook some seats on a flight we were taking in a few days and her response was "You think too mutt." It was usually that or "you talk too mutt." Pretty standard lines for Asians so I have read.

In late January my 21-year old son who had been living in Los Angeles for some years decided that he had had enough and wanted to move back to Australia. So I persuaded him to come to Vietnam on his way. May had a 20-year old sister who had seen photos of him wanted to meet him. When I went to the airport to get him, May decided to come as well to meet her "son". Well in the next few days Dad is still knocking off this 22 year old and my 21-year old son is now knocking off the 20-year old sister [keep it in the family, I say].

Well things started to heat up about the house, time was running out for me, so after May and I had yet another fight, 4 days later I told her that I had in fact bought one of the houses we looked at and settlement was in 4 weeks. Just bought some more time. Surprisingly she never asked to go back and look at it. I really wondered about her lack of thinking. When the time came to "settle" I made up another bullshit story that the whole house needed painting which would take about 10 days and we could not live there due to fumes etc. I instead went out to her house and lived on the floor for days on end. Never once did she ask to go and look which was quite odd.

My son had finished inseminating half of Vietnam and was now down in Cambodia doing the same thing.

Time was running out, it was time to flee, so I just caused a problem with May, booked a flight and fled. I told her that I no longer had a phone and she could talk to me on email on the Iphone I had bought her. I have been gone 2 weeks and she still thinks I am in Vietnam because I have been playing with her and the house ruse. She thinks I am actually living in it and wants to come talk to me but can't remember the address.

I know May has had at least 2 other foreign boyfriends, both in their late 50s. Maybe there has been more, I don't know. When I ask her anything about her past, she won't tell me anything. She said she is divorced, but won't produce papers when I have asked. For all I know, maybe she isn't divorced, maybe she has a Viet boyfriend somewhere. I just don't know.

What I do know is that I feel quite terrible for what I have done. Maybe all she wanted was a good life for her and her daughter. But I always had a sneaking suspicion that had I bought a house it was not just going to be me May and the daughter living there. Of all the dozens of expats I met and talked to during my time there, I think I came across one good relationship. Why would this young girl be any different?

I learnt some good advice from a friend there and that was if you meet a girl who smokes, speaks English, knows how to use a computer and can play pool, then run!

This naive 50-year old man is now a broken man. It was all my own doing and selfishly ran it out until the bitter end. Maybe she was genuine, but I seriously doubt it and guess I never will.

Just as a footnote, she did get pregnant, but terminated it without even telling me. Maybe that was a good thing.




Stickman's thoughts:

This whole thing is seriously messed up. Really, when you realise a relationship won't work – for whatever reason – it's best just to move on. No dramas, be civil, act your age and move on. All the games being played by you and the demand made by her gave the other one big headache.